Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Cllr. Nigel Sinden, Anne Scott and Marylin Saklatval posing with University of Hawaii students

Cllr Nigel Sinden, Anne Scott and Marylin Saklatval posing with University of Hawaii students

Hastings Hawaiian connection

Students from the University of Hawaii recently paid a visit to Hastings. They were in England to study archives relating to an education programme instigated by King Kalakaua. The Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Nigel Sinden, along with Friends of Hastings Cemetery members Anne Scott and Marylin Saklatval, were on hand to greet them on arrival, later accompanying them to visit the grave of Dr Matthew Everard Puakahakoililanimanuia Makalua, who is buried at Hastings Cemetery.

King Kalakaua, the penultimate monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, instituted a scheme at the end of the 19th century to provide funding for and enable young Hawaiians to study in Great Britain and other countries across the globe. Dr Makalua was one such recipient of a grant.

Dr Makalua first came to England in 1882 and started at a prep school, before training as a doctor. He would become the first native Hawaiian to qualify as a doctor and later came to practice in St Leonards, at 37 Pevensey Road. He met and married Miss Annie Clementina Dewar, the daughter of Rev David Erskine Dewar and Elizabeth Ann Fane Parry, on 27 August 1888.

A highly respected man and noted philanthropist, both Makalua and his wife were concerned with the welfare of the poor. He originated the scheme to collect tinfoil for the Druid’s Tinfoil Cot in the Royal East Sussex Hospital. He was also the medical officer of the LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) Convalescent Home, Caple-ne-Ferne. Dr. Makalua would never return to Hawaii and died in 1929.

A moving tribute

Dr. Makalua's grave site

Dr Makalua’s grave site

“It was an honour to be part of this very moving ceremony at the graveside of Dr Makalua”, said Cllr Sinden. “The students brought water and sand from Hawaii and covered the grave with the Hawaiian flag [the only American state to have the flag of a foreign country on it, in this case our Union flag] and masses of flowers while singing Hawaiian songs”.

The party then returned to the seafront as they desperately missed ‘the ocean’, but decided not to take a dip in the chillier waters of the English Channel!

If you would like to know more about Dr Makalua, visit the Friends of Hastings cemetery website.

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Posted 09:13 Thursday, Aug 2, 2018 In: Young People

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